Conflict and Negotiations and Technology



Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Today, technology is
used in almost every aspect of our lives. It has helped us improve our quality of life and has allowed us to communicate with relatives in distant countries.

Different Forms of Technology Used in Businesses

Technology has allowed businesses to conduct business meetings, deals, and conferences. More importantly, it has also allowed businesses to reach other markets in different parts of the world.

There are several ways technology is used to communicate in the business world:
1. Web-Based Communication (Google Docs, Google Calendar)
2. Video Conferencing (Skype, OoVoO)
3. E-mails (GMAIL, Yahoo)
4. Reports (SQL)
5. Presentations ( Power Point Presentation)
6. Telephoned Meetings ( Cellphones, Land-lines)
7. Short Messaging Service (Texting)
8. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter)

1. Web-Based Communication
Web-based communications are web applications that is accessed over the internet. A web based application means that you can access the application over the internet and there is no need to install any software. A good example of web-based application would be Google Docs or Google Calendar. With applications such as Google Docs, you can create, edit, access, and share presentations or documents with others through the internet. It can be accessed by anyone in the company and can be worked on simultaneously as well. All the documents are stored online so it does not consume memory.

2. Video Conferencing
Many international businesses use Skype or OoVoO for video conferencing when conducting meetings within other countries. Both are software applications that allow users to make voice/video calls and chat over the internet through webcameras. This is a great way to communicate with clients in other parts of the country and is less costly than travelling around the world. This also allows employees in different parts of the world to communicate effectively at once.


3. Email
Email is short for electronic email. E-mailing is the exchange of digital messages between two or more recipients. This is considered the modern way of writing a letter. Businesses can use email to exchange information between companies or employees, to schedule meetings or conferences, to follow up a purchase request or an interview and deal with conflict and negotiations. [4]

external image email.png[5]

4. Reporting Technology
Reporting technology allows businesses to go through data bases and extract information. A good example of this is SQL. SQL is a programming language that is designed to manage data stored in data bases.This helps businesses report trends regarding their customer or product data base.[6]

5. Presentations
Presentation is a very popular and widely used tool in business. It can show or convey data to an audience through visuals and auditory content. The most popular software is Microsoft PowerPoint. It helps avoid boring the audience. PowerPoint allows for the user to insert music, links, videos, pictures and to modify the slides and the presentation, giving the user many different ways to conduct a presentation.
external image mban2136l.jpg[7]
6. Telephoned meetings
Cellphone technology has had the biggest effect in business communication, allowing instant communication between two or more people. It is great for businessmen and women on-the-go because they are able to make contact regardless of time and place. Land-line telephones are also a great way to communicate especially if you want to have a telephone conference where many people are attending. Both are a great way to gain responses; it is quicker than other methods of business communication on some occasions through technology.
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7. Short Messaging Service (SMS)
Text messaging is the exchange of short written messages between a land-line or mobile phone and fixed or portable devices over a network. You can send short and quick messages between employees that would otherwise be too much trouble conveying the message through another way of communication.
external image TextingInMeeting.jpg[9]
8. Social Media (facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc)
Over the recent years, social media has gained the attention of the public. Starting with myspace, social media progressed and became a very important channel of communication not only for personal use but also for business. It is a very effective channel of communication of business since it allows customers and clients to have constant communication and feedback. Facebook allows companies to create public profiles so as to keep in touch with their customers allowing them to have input on products. Twitter is similar to facebook but rather than only having a company profile, many executives have profiles allowing a "one on one" conversation with followers.
external image Twitter-Facebook.jpg[10]

What is Conflict

Conflict is a process that involves people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals.[11] This conflict may be intra-personal and arise within a person; or it may be inter-personal, between two or more people. Intergroup conflict takes place among different groups in an organization. Although conflict may seem detrimental, it is necessary for making smart business decisions. Technology plays an essential role in providing individuals and groups the ability to communicate and mediate conflict.
What are Negotiations [13]

Negotiations are a process where two or more parties, each with its own goal, seek to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict.[14] By collaboration, these parties work to find solutions that optimize all the party's goals. However, negotiations often lead to violence and conflict when the groups are not willing to communicate with each other and focus on common interests.


Using Technology to Mediate Conflict

Conflict happens everyday in an organization and technology can be used to mediate the conflict. When faced with a conflict, there are a few steps to help resolve it. First, the two parties need to communicate through some type of communication channel to agree on a time to meet or what technology channel they will discuss the conflict on.
After the parties are together, they need to state the problem and list their concerns. They must then let the other party have a say. If the two parties can't meet, they can communicate through email, virtual face to face such as Skype, phones, instant messenger, etc. When trying to resolve conflict, using video conference to help mediate is the most effective since you can see the other party and understand their concerns better. Also, face to face makes the communication more personal, and since humans are empathetic, people are more likely to be reasonable if they can see the people they are arguing with. If it is impossible to conduct the meeting through video conference, the next best communication channel is telephone. Because you can hear the voices of the other people, there is still a human element. This is impossible to have when communicating with email and instant messaging, as they are nothing more than text on the screen.

Although meeting in person is the most effective, using technology can help people that have a conflict but don't live close to each other.

[16] When discussing the conflict, be sure to listen and ask questions. Also, make sure not to interrupt them and stick to the conflict on hand. Using email can be a good way to not have interruptions and will give you time to find the right words to[17] say so you don't say something that could be regretful. To help resolve the conflict try and find common ground and brainstorm ways where both parties are satisfied. After both parties agree, discuss a time and place when this will be resolved and be clear about the details.

If the conflict can not be resolved they need to discuss a different method to discuss this conflict over, and maybe they should try and have a third party help mediate, or possibly allocate, the conflict. [19]

Does Technology Add to or Lessen the Amount of Conflict in the Workplace?

Technology can help any type of conflict if used the correct way. When co workers use technology to communicate through an organization, misunderstood information can cause conflicts. Surveys show that misunderstood information occurs more often when they use low contact communications. Low contact communication can be email, telephone, instant message, and claim letters.[20] Using these technological tools can cause conflict throughout the organization, but also conflicts can be resolved using these tools. Overall, when used in the proper way, technology is beneficial to the workplace.

Differences in Conflict Styles Between Communicating with Technology and Communicating Face-to-Face

Communicating is very important in an organization, since without it, co -workers won't know job specifics. When communicating face-to-face, information is better understood and quicker, especially since humans instinctively judge the body language of the other party. Communication through technology is sometimes the only way they can communicate, but it may be confusing and misunderstood. When using technology, one may have to go through several channels before the message is transmitted to the intended receiver. Every time the information passes through a channel, one risks the loss of data or a distortion of the intended message. If a group is communicating through email, each person can think longer about what they want to say and this may decrease conflict. When a group meets together to discuss information they may get into heated arguments which may cause conflict within the group. The different types of communication can cause different types of conflict, but with each type of conflict there is a way to resolve it and use can. almost always, help the group.
email.png computer.jpg


Using Technology in Negotiations

How is Technology Used in Negotiations?

Technology has made it possible to have global negotiations by utilizing tools such as video chat and email. These technologies allow communication over extremely vast distances and are practically instantaneous. This allows companies who might not be able to ever meet in person, the ability to negotiate among their competitors and allies.
external image home-business-videochat.jpg[22] Building relationships and having access to information are two areas that are affected strongly by technology and their uses in negotiations are huge.

Relations via social media and networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn make communication much easier between each other. When you have not developed a relationship with someone you are negotiating with, it is much harder than it is with someone you know well. It is essential to know and respect the business or individual you are negotiating with to create a fair deal. [23]

external image more-jobs-found-through-social-networks.jpg[24]

Does Technology Help the Negotiation Process?

Of course. The bringing together of parties who, without the addition of technology, would have not had the ability to communicate is an obvious positive to negotiating.

When you're in a negotiation, having the ability to use visual aids, such as power point, and other physical demonstrations allow for a better and more clear picture of what is trying to be shared.

When to Use and When Not to Use Technology in Negotiations

When distances make direct communication difficult, or other barriers, such as language, come into play, the use of technology to overcome these difficulties is recommended.

When at all possible, direct, face-to-face communication allows for more information to be passed easily, and decreases the likelihood of there being a misunderstanding. Verbal feedback is immediate, therefore face to face negotiations are often faster than with technological mediums.[25]

Advantages and Disadvantages

As technology changes, our ways of dealing with conflict and negotiations also change; and with every aspect of technology, there are always pros and cons. Some ways companies and individuals deal with conflict and negotiations through technology include, but are not limited to: Email, Online Messaging, Social Media such as Facebook or Twitter, Skype, the phone, and texting. [27]
- fast
- communicators can respond at any time, regardless of time zones
- use of smart phones has made it easier to check emails upon delivery
- unable to express oneself with body language
- impersonal, this can increase conflict as people may not associate their emails with other people
- often causes people to be misunderstood, which can
increase conflict
- permanent record
Online Chat
- fast response
- express some emotion through emoticons (smiley faces)
- communication is global
- both parties must be online at the same time
- context can be misconstrued due to lack of emotions
- typos are more common and can sometimes be difficult to correct
- Short Text is hard to understand (i.e - LOL or 143)
Text Messages
- fast response
- good for facts, short messages or straight to the point
- auto-correct (spell check)
- unable to express oneself with body language
- often causes people to be misunderstood, which can
increase conflict
- lacks personal feeling
- auto-correct checks spelling ineffectively
(Video Conference)
- able to see facial expressions and body languages with web cameras
- can share screen shots and files quickly and effectively
- Free communication through smart phones and all computers globally
- All parties must have Skype to communicate
- Access to other's files (if sharing screens)
- communication is verbal
- feed back is immediate
- unable to read body language, but emotions can be expressed personally
- language barriers sometimes prove difficult
- dialect is different in many cultures
- reception areas are sometimes inadequate
- can be costly (long distance or overseas)
Social Media
- can share with many persons at once
- information travels quickly
- information is open to the public
- information can be taken out of context
- companies can view personal matters
- records are permanent

Suggestions to Managers

  • You cannot ignore technology.
    The fact is, technology is the most powerful tool at your disposal. If do not choose to use it, your competitors most certainly will. When it comes to conflicts, the use of technology is a double edged sword. Misunderstandings can happen, especially without tone of voice, or other visual cues. But to not utilize e-mail or other e-communication devices is almost to the point of ridicule.
  • Effective communication is critical.
    When you run a start-up business, or say a huge enterprise, effective communication is the most integral part to determining success. If your company fails to communicate, it will not make it. Technology is critical for effective communication among a corporation, no matter what the size.
  • When it comes to conflicting arguments and negotiating decisions, choose one or two technological sources for solving dilemmas. Communication can be difficult, and finding a medium can be just as challenging. Choose one or two and stick with it to avoid further mishaps.


As discussed, technology plays a huge rule in everyday business life Although technology has been a great means in the sense of increasing profit and remaining competitive in the quickly evolving marketplace, when it comes to conflict and negotiations it can sometimes be negative because of the lack of clarity that comes with low-contact communication. It has proven to be helpful though in allowing people from all over the place the ability to work out problems and brainstorm ideas in a new way. Overall, technology in regards to conflict and negotiations is something that has completely changed the workplace, and is continuing to create a new business world.

a. How Technology is Evolving

The use of smart phones has made it easier to stay in touch on the go. Skype is available on many smart phones and can connect with computers, PDAs and other smart phones across the globe. Checking email is also easier because it all goes straight to your smart phone. You can receive notifications when an email has arrived and remind you to create emails when need be. This makes dealing with conflicts and negotiations easier because you are able to work on the go - no matter your location! Furthermore, there are new technologies that are trying to be developed that will allow people to video conference while simultaneously work and edit documents, almost a "virtual whiteboard".

b. What Can be Improved, Stay the Same, etc.

There will always be ways to improve technology, as we can see everyday when new things are being developed. In regards to conflict and negotiations in the workplace, there are many things that are working well though. Skype has allowed companies from all over the world the ability to communicate and this is something that has completely changed the workplace today and should always be something in use. There are many improvements to be made though. Since one of the main causes of work related issues is due to low and lack of communication skills, which is caused by using email and text messaging and things that require less concise face-to-face communicating, this is something that needs to be addressed and improved. Although emails allow for quick and easy communication, it can also lead to confusing and misunderstood messages. There will always be new technology, and the main concern is integrating it within the workplace to benefit the company and employees. [29]


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